Rotterdam, a week later

Thinking of a group of pals who wanted to run in Vienna tomorrow but cannot because of another Icelandic calamity, it is time to report on the Rotterdam marathon which I ran last week.

First the Expo. That was a bit of a disappointment. it was not very big for a start and the official merchandise stand had run out of stock quite fast. I had intended to buy a shirt but couldn’t.

Next the weather. Race day was a little chillier and certainly windier than forecast. The temperature was in fact perfectly fine once the race started but we would not have missed the gusts of wind earlier in the race. In the end, it did not matter because overall the conditions were pretty good.

Then the race. I had very high expectations of the organisation and frankly I was a rather disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, there were no serious failings. It is just that the start was a bit chaotic and some of the streets in which we ran were too narrow for the mass of runners. Add in the fact that  some of the local runners loved to barge and push, you can easily imagine the somewhat tense atmosphere for the first 10 kms.

If I have one more substantial complaint it is about the distribution of the water stations. The organisers were simply too parsimonious with the water in my opinion. In the second half of the race, water and electrolyte drinks were distributed at the same station, roughly every five kms. A far better system was the one used in Athens – where such matters were generally much better managed anyway – with alternate water and energy drinks every 2.5 kms. There were times when I felt really thirsty in Rotterdam and saw the approach of the water stations with considerable relief.

On the whole, though, it is a good marathon which attracts supportive crowds and many bands and musicians line the way. The course is generally flat but once or twice I was surprised by an incline!

If you really want to know, yes, I achieved another personal best and got round in 3:30:54. Thats about three minutes less than my time in Barcelona. With hindsight, I wonder whether I had allowed myself to recover well enough from Barcelona and had instead been too keen to train during the two races. It is difficult to tell as I felt pretty good during the whole of the race in Rotterdam. Next time, I’ll err on the side of more recovery.

Posted by Xavier.


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